If you’re a regular member of on-line Nokia communities, you may be familiar with Patrick Hamilton Walsh. He’s the modern day adventurer who spent six action packed years travelling around the world. While the countries and continents changed, one thing always stayed constant: The trusty Nokia smartphone in his backpack.
Now, Patrick has got a book out, The Backpacker who sold his Supercar, which shares more of his life story and showcases his amazing trip with fifty never before seen photos, all taken with Nokia smartphones. We hooked up with Patrick to find out how his adventures around the world lead to him building one of the most active on-line Tech communities.
What was the motivation behind you going off to travel the world with a Nokia?
“As a sixteen year old, I asked myself a simple question, “If I could do any three things in the world, what would they be?” Third on my list was to go out explore the seven continents of this great planet of ours. So, once I had completed my education and qualified as a Chartered Accountant, I sold everything I had, purchased a Nokia and off I went.”
How did this community begin?
“While planning my trip, I learnt that Nokia were releasing the N95 with a 5Mpx camera and I knew that it was the perfect tool that I just had to buy. The N95 was so far ahead of the game, there was no need for a camera anymore; my Nokia would meet all my electronic needs from alarm clock to calendar to camera. So, that is what I did – I set out to travel the seven continents of the planet using ‘Nothing but a Nokia’ (#nban) and I set up a Facebook group using that name so my friends and family could follow me.”
And it just grew from there?
“Yeah, it was a simple as that. In the early days it was just my friends and family that followed my #nban adventures. Today, the group has grown to over 8,000 active members with new members being added every day. It really is amazing when I think about it and how it has grown.”
What makes this community so special?
“This group is special because it is so active – there are always members on-line sharing their phoneographs on #nban, engaging with others and leaving feedback for the other members in a positive manner. No matter a person’s location, race, religion, creed, age or anything else, they will be welcomed into the group (which is known amongst the members as the #nbanFamily) with great warmth.
There is a real sense of family amongst the members with a lot of kindness shown to everyone. However, if I was to sum up the one ingredient that makes #nban so special, I would have to say, it is the mutual respect that all members have for each other – everybody is equal.”
What would make new members want to join ‘Nothing but a Nokia’?
#nban is a group that appeals to people that have an interest in capturing great photographs using Nokia devices. It doesn’t matter what device a person is using or how good they are at taking photos, all that matters is that they want to get better and are willing to support the other members to get better also.
No one in #nban is a professional photographer when they start (although some go on to achieve amazing things through the support of the #nbanFamily) – we are all amateurs that try to get better every day, by posting our photos and obtaining feedback from the community. We are always open to accepting new members and helping them to develop and get better.
Is it only about photography or does ‘Nothing but a Nokia’ offer more?
Everything in the community would appear to be based around photography, but the very essence of the group is the interaction with other members and the connection that exists through a shared love of Nokia. We set a weekly photography theme to challenge everyone to go out and try to capture some new and unique images based on a theme, such as #nbanColourpop.
Through our photography we get to see a totally new view of life, allowing us to learn more about different regions and cultures. I am still a backpacker at heart, so for me a lot of my interest in the group comes down to the people in it and the towns and cities that they live in. I am interested to see how they live and I enjoy people posting images of places that I travelled to during my ‘Nothing but a Nokia’ world travels.
To people outside the group, #nban may seem like a photography group, but there is much more to it than that – it is a place where we all learn from each other, everyone is selfless and there are no egos in the #nbanFamily. The result is a friendly community of people sharing quality images, allowing us to see how people from all over the world live their life’s on a daily basis – it is very interesting.
Many ‘Nothing but a Nokia’ members are now very well known within the Nokia Community – is that intimidating for new members?
I don’t think so, in fact I believe that the success of the group comes down to the fact that the guys and girls that are well known are still very active in the group and very supportive of new members. They almost take on the duty of guiding the newcomers with positive feedback.
People join because of the pictures they see online from these guys and girls, but it is through the comments, the advice, the feedback, the incredible interaction and the friendship that keeps them coming back. The well-known people are still very humble and helpful to everyone.
What device are you using now and how does it compare to the N95 you had?
“Over the years, I upgraded as Nokia devices developed. However, with the release of the Nokia Lumia 1020 last July, I knew that we were entering a new era in smartphone technology, particularly from a camera perspective. The ‘phoneographs’ that I had captured in Antarctica, Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and the America’s, as good as they were, would never again be able to stand comparable to the ‘phoneographs’ that will be captured on smartphone’s in the future. Nokia has once again changed the game.
“The Nokia Lumia 1020 with its PureView Pro imaging technology is going to take ‘phoneography’ to the next level – a level that I could never have imaged as I walked out of the Nokia store in Manhattan with a N95 in my hand and a smile on my face in 2007. With its high-resolution 41Mpx image sensor, Carl Zeiss optics, pixel oversampling and lossless zoom we are entering new territory. The quality of photographs captured on mobile phones has just changed forever.
However, at the moment I am using a Nokia Lumia 1520 and I have to admit that, overall, it is the best device I have ever had.”
What can we expect from ‘Nothing but a Nokia’ in the coming months?
In the past year we have spread the group into other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest and we will continue to do that as long as the demand spreads. My hope is that through #nban we will inspire all ‘phoneographers’ around the world to believe that they too can achieve the amazing results that the #nban community do, through a passion for phoneography and sharing.
Personally, my objective in life is to inspire other people to be their best selves and I have to admit that with #nban we have a great community that reflects that. Everyone there wants to capture great images using their Nokia devices to inspire people and to help them understand that we can all be an inspiration to others once we are true to ourselves. As a result I see #nban growing ever larger and stronger over the coming months and years.